Friday, March 5, 2010

Surprising Signs and Smiles

Hey all,

Since Jonathon has today off, I'll make this blog a short one.

Living in a new country is an experience. It's not the first time I've done it, Jonathon and I and the kids spent time living in Australia. New customs, new food, new sights, but in all honesty, those I expect. It's the little things that come up on a daily basis that always shock and surprise me. Something as simple as having to pay to go to a public toilet or when offered water in a restaurant you have to beg for ice because it isn't the norm here.

Each day I am confronted by something that makes me smile. It can be the way one of the Indian men in Little India flirts with me to walking into a department store and watching their version of an anything goes shoe sale. (and boy, let me tell you, you don't want to get between a Singaporean and a shoe sale!)

I'm making a list of the little things, because if I don't they'll disappear from my memory. Once I have a few, I'll do a blog on them as well.

But today's blog is about the signs that I've seen over here. I know I've mentioned them in passing, but for a short, quick blog, they are perfect. So let me post some of the interesting ones I've seen and you can see what I mean. I'll just do a few, but I've got a whole album started!!!!

So, here you go...

Seriously? You need a sign for this? I looked at this for a long time trying to understand a) what it meant and b) more importantly, why is it necessary in the first place?

I mean the first part tells the user to put the paper in the toilet (like you'd need that direction) but why on earth would you have to tell someone NOT to stand on a toilet? Did they have a rash of falls because people were standing and pooping? There are others along this same line, but even after the time I've spent traveling it's beyond me why this type of signage is needed.

And then there is this interesting way of translating English... and I see this type of thing all the time here.

Now obviously, this was written by a very polite construction worker. He could have stopped with just DANGER! DO NOT ENTER! But he wanted to make sure people understood and forgave him for it. LOL

You see this type of thing at big construction sites, smaller areas like when they clean a bathroom, or even in small written notes. When the stores shut down for Chinese New Year, every one I read was so apologetic, I felt guilty being upset they were closed in the first place! Geesh!

And then you have advertisement signs. These next two made Jonathon and I bust up when we saw them...

We blinked at this one because seriously, do you want to wear a fragrance that makes you smell adorable? Sexy, yes. Exotic, oh yeah. But I'm pretty sure adorable is NOT what I'd be going for. I'd be looking around for little girls in jumpers holding a Teddy Bear and I'm thinking that's not the marketing angle they were going for.

This one cracked me up because it seems in their culture, you have to lead the consumer to what they really want by writing it down. Where in the states an ad agency would do something more subtle, like show you a picture of a beautiful room of furniture filled with elegant people and lead you to understand if you wanted to be fashionable, you need to buy this stuff. Here, they don't do subtle, so they just put it right in the name. It's not a furniture store, it's an EXTREMELY FASHIONABLE furniture store. LOL

And lastly, I have to add this one. I about fell over laughing and Jonathon had to drag me away, totally embarrassed with my behavior. Now I understand that this is a common name in this area, but to have it shown in such a way just cracked me up. Chalk it up to my type of job and dirty mind, but I snickered about it the rest of the day.

I wanted to go in and see what they actually sold there, but Jonathon wouldn't let me. I think he was afraid I'd start laughing and be unable to stop!!!!

Anyway, there are some of the funny signs I've seen here in Singapore. There are more and they really seem to be conscious of their bodily functions, so sometime I need blog fodder, I'll do another one on some specific types of signs.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into the humorous side of this country's culture. I know in most cases they have no idea why the blond westerner next to them is laughing her eyelashes off . I try not to be snide, and I hope I haven't come across that way. It's different and remember, it's the difference that make us all so interesting.

Hugs to all and see you on the flip side!
CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Unknown said...

I love the signs!! Please show us more of them.

I would have been right there with you at the 'Hung' store...LOL

Anonymous said...

Hey CJ,
So-o-o-o, hung up on the House of Hung, were you? Now, why am I not surprised, LOL. Jonathon must have been wondering 'Where is that "cultural Puritan" when I need it?!'
I'm sure you two could have a ball [no pun intended...hmmm, maybe] using your imagination to figure out what 'stock ' would be appropriate [for lack of a better word, ] for 'filling up' a 'Hung' store.
I'll stop now ~ just remember You started it! LMAO
Stuck at home and it shows,
Sara J. ~ : - ]

Phylis said...

Oh that's hilarious! I would have had to be dragged away too! Thanks for sharing them CJ!

Dee said...

What an adventure you are having!

To answer your question about the toilet sign, I have family who have been to China and this is probably the reason. It's my understanding that away from the major tourist cities, toilets are rare. Restrooms consist of a hole in the floor that you squat over. And no toilet paper unless you bring your own. So I would assume the sign is for visitors to the city that are not used to having toilet paper and would normally squat over the toilet hole. :)

CJ England said...


I sure will. I think I'll do that every week or so. There are enough of them. LOL


CJ England said...

Sara J,

I should have known YOU would enjoy that! LOL

Now, every time I go by I'm going to think of you! So there!


CJ England said...


Good to know I'm not the only one with a dirty mind. *snicker*


CJ England said...


Actually, the toilets you're referring to are here in town as well. The first one I saw was in Chinatown and I just stared at it, wondering how anyone over the age of 50 could squat down and do their thing.

I've even seen those type in nice malls. Maybe for those people who are more comfortable standing and pooping.